Facebook kept its acquired portfolios – WhatsApp and Instagram away from businesses. Fairly, for a long time, they meant only for consumer communications. However, the social networking giant has been sort of testing monetisation for two of its best products.
After allowing business to create verified ‘Business Profile’ on WhatsApp, picture and short video sharing app Instagram has launched ‘Instagram Direct’ that enables businesses to communicate seamlessly with consumers.
However, unlike the US it doesn’t showcase any merchants facilitating transactions feature in India. Notably, in its home market, several companies including Yelp, Eventbrite, and GrubHub, amongst several others, have integrated with Instagram Direct.
Importantly, Instagram Direct isn’t a native functionality as the feature allows users to facilitate transactions on a widget or separate browser (not inside the app). Given that, India contributes about 8 per cent of overall Instagram users and businesses targeting urban premium class or millennials are expected to leverage it as an additional lead generator.
While Instagram Direct is yet to integrate with Indian brands, the features would definitely find many takers. So far, Instagram has deliberately kept new features such as Shoppable Tags and native in-app payment feature limited to a handful of markets.
Nevertheless, such features would sooner than the later will hit the Indian shore. Most likely, early next year.
During an ongoing F8 conference, Instagram had announced a slew of initiatives to protect users from bullying and new formats of telling ‘Stories’. Recently, it also integrated payment option for select users in the US.
India would be a pivotal market for Instagram commerce play
With 60 million users, India would be a pivotal market for Instagram’s commerce play. Since its launch in India, it has managed to achieve nearly 10X growth in the country. Advertisers across several segments (majorly fashion and consumer brands) have also been preferring it over Twitter to promote offerings.
As visual storytelling is gaining grounds in India, visual commerce will also have space to thrive in the future. Currently, visuals play a great role in driving transactions for e-commerce players. Going forward, it would be interesting to see how Instagram Direct fares up in the Indian market.
The announcement about new feature was made by Instagram on its blog.